I once knew a woman who was going through a divorce and was trying to save money any way possible. She put a lot of things on Craigslist and met total strangers in parking lots just to sell them things like worn-out old roller skates for five dollars.

I was constantly worried about her and frustrated that she would put herself in precarious situations so often for so little. Five dollars or 50 dollars or a couple hundred dollars is not worth what can go wrong. And twice she drove away when seeing suspicious activity, once where someone tried to get her car door open while doing so.

So it amazes me that all these years later people still try selling old things for little money on Craigslist or various online marketplaces. Haven’t we heard enough stories? Just don’t do this!

Well here it is 2022 and yet another victim is lucky to be alive. A young guy was contacted by a woman through Snapchat saying she was interested in buying some sneakers and clothes off him, according to law enforcement.

What he did right is picking a public place to make the sale. What he did wrong is not using one of the many safe exchange zones that are set up now in countless lobbies or parking lots of municipal police stations to avoid the kind of thing that police say happened next.

When he arrived outside a Dollar General store in Manchester to meet, police say a woman poured gasoline on him from a bottle and held out a butane lighter, then ordered him to hand over the sneakers, clothing, his cell phone and $300 in cash he had on him.

Authorities say the woman then fled with the man’s money and belongings. Police say Eboni Hester was later arrested and charged with robbery, theft, aggravated assault and weapons offenses.

The sad thing is Manchester, the town where police say this happened, has a “Safe Exchange Zone” at the municipal complex for such transactions. It’s in the main visitor parking lot on the building’s northeast side and is well-lit and under constant video surveillance.

Please do yourself a favor. Just don’t meet strangers outside of these police-provided transactions points. Did you know there have been well over a hundred murders linked to Craigslist ads alone?

Maybe that five dollars for your rusty old skates just isn’t worth it.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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